Tag Archives: Air Force

Environment Department Secretary on Toxic Chemicals Around New Mexico Military Bases

1308 Sec Kenney

August 23, 2019 – Correspondent Laura Paskus sits down with New Mexico Environment Department Sec. James Kenney to talk about PFAS, or toxic, human-made chemicals that have been found at U.S. military bases across the nation and the world. Here in New Mexico, these chemicals have contaminated groundwater around Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases. Sec. Kenney discusses the danger of such contamination, what’s being done about it, and the federal response.

Guest:
Sec. James Kenney, New Mexico Environment Department

NOTE: After our program was recorded, the Air Force responded to NMiF’s request concerning the military’s actions on PFAS contamination at Holloman and Cannon Air Force Bases. Specifically, NMiF asked what actions the Air Force is taking to address cleanup. Here is the response from Mark Kinkade, U.S. Air Force:

“Generally speaking, the Air Force team lives and thrives in the communities we serve, and we share concerns about the possible impact of our firefighting mission. We are taking aggressive action to assess the potential for PFOS/PFOA contamination of human drinking water and respond appropriately. If concentrations of PFOS/PFOA in human drinking water sources off base are found to be above EPA’s lifetime drinking water health advisory as a result of our mission, we immediately provide alternate drinking water and begin working with the impacted residents and state regulators toward identifying and implementing long-term solutions. The Air Force’s actions are authorized and limited by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (also know as CERCLA or the Superfund law), the Superfund Reauthorization and Amendments Act, and the National Contingency Plan. The Air Force’s response to PFOS/PFOA contamination in New Mexico and in other states follows a three-pronged approach of to identify PFOS/PFOA releases, response actions where authorized, and prevention of future contamination. As we gather data to develop informed solutions, we actively work with community partners, advisory boards, regulators, and other local, state, and federal stakeholders to get their input, work through specific issues, and collaboratively implement our PFOS/PFOA program.”

Holloman AFB Contamination

1232 Holloman AFB

February 8, 2019 – Environmental Reporter Laura Paskus broke the story this week of massive contamination at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo. According to a Department of Defense site inspection, the levels of contamination at Holloman are 18,000 times higher than what the federal government says is safe. And the state’s new Secretary of the Environment has already issued a violation against the Air Force over the contamination and subsequent health risks. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and members of the New Mexico congressional delegation also issued the following statement on the situation:

“We firmly expect the Air Force to show much more urgency in responding to the contamination around Holloman and Cannon Air Force Bases than they have to date. Their activities have caused contamination in groundwater surrounding these bases, and it must be fixed immediately. We will continue to work with Secretary Wilson to ensure the Air Force moves quickly to determine the full extent of PFAS contamination and take substantive action to protect the health of impacted communities and our service members. And we will pursue all available avenues to protect New Mexico’s water supplies and ensure affected New Mexicans are made whole as soon as possible. New Mexico is a proud and welcoming host to three Air Forces bases, and we are entitled to accountability and access to safe, healthy water for households and businesses in our communities. We will pursue this and push the Air Force until it is achieved.”

Paskus sat down with NMiF Executive Producer Kevin McDonald to discuss her report, and questions still need to be answered. This is a portion of that discussion, which can be viewed in full here.

Guest:

Laura Paskus, environmental reporter, New Mexico Political Report

For Further Reading:

New Mexico concerned about water contamination at Cannon Air Force Base – Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Environment Department Provides Contamination Fact SheetABC News Amarillo